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Godless mom strikes a chord with parents
A CNN iReport essay on raising kids without God draws record-breaking number of comments.
January 18th, 2013
06:32 PM ET

Godless mom strikes a chord with parents

By Daphne Sashin, CNN

Deborah Mitchell remembers the time, when her boys were younger, and another mom asked her about her religious beliefs.

Mitchell was raised Catholic but moved away from religion in her early 20s. She told the other mother that she didn’t go to church and didn’t even really believe in God.

Then, she says, the recruiting started.

“She used to call my house and tell me she was praying for me. She’d leave me messages and leave cards in my mailbox with scripture,” Mitchell says. “I do realize that she meant well, but at the same time, I know my views were seen as wrong. I needed to be ‘saved.’”

Mitchell, a mother of two teenagers in Texas who feels “immersed in Christianity,” started a blog about raising her children without religion because she felt frustrated and marginalized. She didn’t want to feel so alone, she says.

This week, she gained a whole new audience and the reassurance that she's not alone. Her essay on CNN iReport, “Why I Raise My Children Without God,” drew 650,000 page views, the second highest for an iReport, and the most comments of any submission on the citizen journalism platform.

It starts:

When my son was around 3 years old, he used to ask me a lot of questions about heaven. Where is it? How do people walk without a body? How will I find you? You know the questions that kids ask.

For over a year, I lied to him and made up stories that I didn’t believe about heaven. Like most parents, I love my child so much that I didn’t want him to be scared. I wanted him to feel safe and loved and full of hope. But the trade-off was that I would have to make stuff up, and I would have to brainwash him into believing stories that didn’t make sense, stories that I didn’t believe either.

Mitchell posted the essay detailing her seven reasons for raising her children without God on CNN iReport because she felt there wasn’t anyone else speaking for women or moms like her. As she sees it, children should learn to do the right things because they will feel better about themselves, not because God is watching. She asks questions like: If there was a good, all-knowing, all-powerful God, why would he allow murders, child abuse and torture?

Lots of people disagreed with her. Tons. They flagged her iReport as inappropriate and criticized CNN for linking to her essay on the CNN.com homepage. But there were plenty of others who wrote thoughtful rebuttals, respectfully disagreeing with Mitchell while not foisting their own beliefs on her. Take, for instance, a Methodist dad, who said faith can be hard to nail down, but “not to avail ourselves of the power of something we don't completely understand is silly.”

Others said Mitchell presented a simplistic view of religion.

“Presentations such as these seem to ignore a substantial percentage of believers - well-educated, compassionate, liberal folk, Christian and non-Christian alike - who, I feel, are able to worship without being blind to the realities of the world, or without lying to their children about their understanding of these complexities,” wrote commenter RMooradian. “I'll be raising my children with God, but I understand those who cannot!”

But Mitchell’s essay also struck a chord with hundreds of like-minded parents raising children in a world where lack of belief puts them in the minority, often even in their own family.

“Thank you for writing this. I agree with everything you say, but I’m not brave enough to tell everyone I know this is how I feel,” a woman who called herself an “agnostic mommy of two in Alabama” posted in the comments. “Thank you for your bravery and letting me know I’m not alone.”

It’s a growing group. One in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion, and that number has grown by 25% in the past five years, according to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Of that group, 88% said they were not looking for religion, although 68% of the unaffiliated said they believe in God. 

Brittany Branyon, an American graduate student and substitute teacher living in Germany, was also compelled to express her thanks to Mitchell. Branyon was raised Southern Baptist in Georgia and Alabama. In high school, when she began to question the theory of creation and befriended gay and lesbian students, she says her mother tried to perform an exorcism.

“She opened all the windows and doors in the house, brought me to the door, held my shoulders and shook me while screaming, ‘Satan, get out of this child!’, ‘Satan, leave this child alone!’.”

After moving away from the South, she and her husband “became more comfortable in our secular ways,” but still take criticism from family members. They are now expecting their first child.

“Though we are elated to welcome our child into the world, we can’t help but dread the religious uproar that is to come from our families,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Such an uproar is familiar to Carol Phillips, a stay-at-home mother in northern Virginia. When she gave birth to her first child, she said her family was shocked that the baby wasn’t baptized. She said her mother-in-law cried and told her the little girl’s soul would not go to heaven.

Then there are the comments from strangers. Last year, Phillips said she and her daughter were at a birthday party when a tornado warning sounded.

“We were all in the basement keeping safe. A little girl was saying baby Jesus will keep us safe. My daughter asked who Jesus was. The rest of the time was spent hearing ‘I'll pray for you sweetie, we can take you to church with us if you want,’” Phillips told CNN.

Commenting on Mitchell’s iReport, Phillips said, “To live out loud and to speak freely about my beliefs brings many clucking tongues. I would think it’s easier to come out as gay than atheist.”

Mitchell said she spent years studying the history of religion and does believe it has “an important place in our community.” She has told her children that she’ll be fine if they decide to join a church when they are older.

She ended her essay:

I understand why people need God. I understand why people need heaven. It is terrifying to think that we are all alone in this universe, that one day we—along with the children we love so much—will cease to exist. The idea of God and an afterlife gives many of us structure, community and hope.

I do not want religion to go away. I only want religion to be kept at home or in church where it belongs. It’s a personal effect, like a toothbrush or a pair of shoes. It’s not something to be used or worn by strangers. I want my children to be free not to believe and to know that our schools and our government will make decisions based on what is logical, just and fair—not on what they believe an imaginary God wants.

After her post ran on CNN, Mitchell said she was encouraged by the number of people who agreed with her, or who disagreed but wanted to have a respectful discussion.

“I’m not saying that everybody should think how I do. I’m saying the people that do should have a place in our society and have acceptance and respect,” she said. “I just want to have children grow up and be able to not be afraid to say ‘I don’t believe that,’ or ‘I’m not part of that.’” 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • iReport

soundoff (15,081 Responses)
  1. abbey100

    Proof of life after death = Proof of God
    Google "Proof of life after death Yorktown" and read all the comments as well for more examples of such proof.
    Although, believing in God is not a prerequisite for being a truly good person.

    January 25, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      John Edward: Officially the biggest d.ouche in the universe.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Carl

      Lots of other religions, the ones that are not God-based, nevertheless have a belief in some kind of afterlife so if any said afterlife were eventually to be proven that would not necessarily be proof of God, see?

      January 25, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Why don't Hindu's see Jesus when they have a NDE?

      January 25, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • The Truth

      Try reading about all those who have experienced psychotic episodes and can describe in detail things that happened only in their minds but seem very very real to them. If you accept anyone's NDE as valid you must then also include these persons who also had traumatic brain experiences. What does that mean? If you believe someone who says they experienced an afterlife you must also believe the guy who claims he is Lincoln.

      January 25, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • End Religion

      We understand NDE well. It is sometimes the fight or flight release of adrenaline or the body's release of dopamine during trauma that cause hallucinations perceived by @3% of the general population. Half of the people experiencing it aren't actually near death. One can experience the same effects with various drugs.
      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=peace-of-mind-near-death

      January 25, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • NOT just some Schmuck

      Interesting that pilots undergoing high g-forces (g-loc) in a centrifuge are experiencing NDE...more evidence for a brain event.

      January 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Carl

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers
      Maybe it's the Christians who are mistaking Vishnu for Jesus during NDE? ;-)

      January 25, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  2. james

    at the 14,300 pt. it's believers 8,242 and non 6,058 but who is keeping score?

    January 25, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Gerry

      Believers commenting more on an article about atheism? I find that ironic considering the usual issue many of them have with atheists commenting on "their" stories. They seem to believe that it's OK for them to criticize how everyone else lives and what they believe, but not the other way round.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • hearthatredmurderorigin

      gerry i think that was a joke. do you think someone counted? i would guess 3/5 majority the other direction

      January 25, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • james

      heart is right, almost. the numbers should be reversed. just look back at my comments. I knew this would be a good one.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • End Religion

      Social Engineering: Because there is no patch for human stupidity

      January 25, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  3. hearthatredmurderorigin

    AM Coffee
    Anyone with a functioning mind can see why religion and god were conjured up. It's a control scheme, not that different from what governments do really, same agenda, different story. And yet here we have all these people, apparently moving and breathing humans, who actually buy off on the god and bible thing. They defend it and speak of it as though its real. If they were celebrating pet rocks, martians, or some invisible fish, they'd be diagnosed as psychotic, mentally ill, delusional. Yet for some reason when they go on about this magical little man in the sky they're called religious and we tolerate them, we let them go on about their business, to wander around amongst us. They drive on public streets, they get jobs in schools were we send our kids, they vote, even buy guns, worse yet, they reproduce like rabbits! This God thing is a problem we are not taking seriously enough. We need to put an end to it. At the very least these whacko bible thumpers ought not be allowed out without some kind of supervision, if nothing else anklet transmitters so we can keep track of them. We need to do something, cull the herd.

    January 25, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • hearthatredmurderorigin

      "we let them go"? this is the reason for the law of hatred being murderous intent if you read the fourth commandment it says that if you hate God, you will we inflicting your generations. There is the spot of cain that the gentleman below was talking about.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You decry religion as a control scheme yet your way to combat this is to electronically monitor the religious or even herd them like cattle. You're likely being facetious but if not, can you spot the hypocrisy?

      January 25, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • hearthatredmurderorigin

      @ rational libertarian, thank you for being honest. appreciated. it is atrocious what has also been carried out in the name of Christianity, it all starts with hatred and desire to control more.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  4. God cares about the Godless and the pseudo Godly and says...

    ..repent ye sinners!

    January 25, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Abraham Lincoln sez...

      Party on, dudes!

      January 25, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  5. Douglas

    The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Christian minister who followed the Bible to seek freedom for his people.

    No march in Birmingham, Selma, Atlanta or anywhere else ever featured semi-n@ked LGBTQ cavorting
    and fornicating along the way. The King marchers were well dressed and dignified because they were fighting
    for respect and an end to abuse. "Pride" parades feature people being abused and tortured for sport, entertainment and
    pleasure.

    No... that would never have passed muster with Dr. King.
    He would have rebuked their sinfulness and asked them to peacefully depart.

    The LGBTQ can try to claim Dr. King as their champion...but the truth tells us a very different story.

    Dr. King focused on righting the wrongs of injustice, not the right to mock dignity, honor, respect and justice
    toward others.

    January 25, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • midwest rail

      More fantasy nonsense from Douglas. How's that make-believe church with the make-believe "facilitators" doing this morning ?

      January 25, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • Douglas

      The facilitators have successfully encouraged gay youth to sign celibacy pledges similarly to the way we encourage straight youth to sign abstinence pledges. These gay youth will not suffer from early STD infection because they
      will remain pure and not engage in unclean acts.The BIble has freed them from the wages of sin...an early death.

      January 25, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • midwest rail

      Pure fantasy.

      January 25, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Douglas
      Fornicating in the middle of the parade?
      I'm guessing you haven't been to a lot of pride parades.
      I used to live in my cities Gay Village. Every summer, one of the world's biggest pride parades passed right under my balcony. Though I'm not gay, I took part in the revelry and had a blast. Never once did I witness random s.ex acts performed publically, nor did anyone try to "convert" me.
      What LGBT youth need is the self-esteem that comes with feeling accepted and supported, not a condeming sermon.

      January 25, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • Carl

      Douglas
      Nevertheless, a great number of people viewing the Civil Rights marchers likely were disgusted with the image they saw as well, right? Blacks rising up to claim social equality would have looked as distasteful to that audience as what you find abhorrent in Pride parades. Other people today are literally disgusted to see Muslims praying in public, or Muslim women wearing burka. Others are turned off by the sight of fat people, or people openly carrying firearms in public. Prejudice is the same, no matter what "flavor" it happens to be at the time, and MLK knew that, didn't he?

      January 25, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I think MLK's likely response would have been "Where's all the white women at?".

      January 25, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • Todd

      "No march in Birmingham, Selma, Atlanta or anywhere else ever featured semi-n@ked LGBTQ cavorting
      and fornicating along the way."

      Cite your source on this but I think like all the other posters you are merely lying.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Todd

      I believe it's common knowledge that the black civil rights marches tended not to feature intercourse, gay or otherwise.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • HotAirAce

      MLK was a known adulterer.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • myweightinwords

      I work as a volunteer coordinator for the San Francisco Pride event, which is likely the largest in the US and is certainly chaotic and loud (both in a noise sense and a flamboyant sense). Anyone seen fornicating in public would be removed from the event. It is a family friendly place, with the exception of closed off areas that are specifically for activities children (and sensitive adults) have no need to see. Even there, actual sex is not allowed.

      Nudity, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. Sex, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. Pride events offer LGBT youth a place where they are not weird or different or targets for bullies.

      Celibacy is fine, if that is your personal choice. However, human beings are sexual creatures by and large. Celibacy simply is not practical.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  6. truth be told

    All atheists are liars and predestined to be useless in this world and the next. Who would want them? The hate filled murderous atheist bears the mark of Cain, rejected and unwanted forever.

    January 25, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • Mirosal

      You do know that Cain never existed, right? Neither did his "parents".

      January 25, 2013 at 7:48 am |
    • truth be told

      Thanks for proving you are a liar and unneeded, unwanted in this world or the next.

      January 25, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • WASP

      @tool be told: just where is this "mark of cain" you speak of?
      my complection for a male is almost flawless. i haven't ever had acne, nor any other type of scarring complection problem. i have a birth mark, yet all humans have one somewhere on their bodies regardless of ethnic background.

      so folks above is a perfect example of what happens when a religious person is beaten down with facts................................they turn vile and insult everyone not like themelves.

      January 25, 2013 at 7:54 am |
    • truth be told

      Thanks for proving the Truths I posted wasp. For the greater good of mankind consider how nice this world could be without you and how much better it will be when you are gone.

      January 25, 2013 at 7:59 am |
    • Primewonk

      Wait! Many of you religious fundiot nutters claim being one of those "colored" folks is the mark of Cain. Now you're saying it's the atheists that have the mark of Cain.

      Are you now asserting that all blacks are atheists?

      January 25, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • hmmm..funny

      @ truth be told

      Whackaloon Alert!!!

      Several religions interpreted the' Mark of Cain' to be dark skin.... hense the historical justification of slavery..( thank you yet again Bible! way to be lookin out...)

      January 25, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • WASP

      @tool be told: " consider how nice this world could be without you and how much better it will be when you are gone."

      thank you for making my point about you being an angry person.
      i thought you were suppose to "love thy neighbor"?
      guess you missed that page. lmfao

      January 25, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • truth be told

      Not angry at all... another atheist lie. Speaking the Truth in love is not anger, simply fact. The only one who has a use for a lying thieving murderous atheist is another lying thieving murdering atheist. No morally decent people want them and they are most assuredly rejected by God. Face the facts the world would be better off without that extreme minority that have deceived themselves into thinking they are atheists.

      January 25, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Mirosal

      TBT... name one, JUST ONE person who was recorded as saying "I will kill you in the name of Atheism." .. go ahead... just ONE name, please. Answer carefully, I am not talking political or trying to stay in power by eliminating threats. I am talking as the MAIN reason to kill was Atheism. Go ahead, name one.

      January 25, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • hmmm..funny

      Just reverse that statement on him:
      How nice it would be if religion disappeared.

      ever see a group of people hate another group of people based on their veiws on how math is done? no? ..hmmm
      kill each other in a dispute over chemistry? bology? astronomy? no? hmmm

      Religion is the prime mover for the unprovoked hatred plaging our planet.....better off without it we would be.

      alot less hatred...then a man might be judged (like or hated) based on his actions or 'character flaws'... imagine that...

      January 25, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      For thousands of years, somewhere in the world there has been violence between atheist factions over who believes least in the supernatural.
      Hang on....
      Sorry. I meant exactly the opposite of that.

      January 25, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • WASP

      @funny: i often ask religious people "what would the isrealis and palestinans have to fight over if there wasn't a god"?
      they never can answer that one. lmfao

      January 25, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • hmmm..funny

      @ Doc

      no no... you re on the right track there: there was going to be a battle between the Pure Atheist Alliance and th Unknown Coalition outside Constantinople in AD 1204 ...unfortunately for both sides The Christians showed up on their way to support the 4th Crusade and them as a 'warm up' for the battles to come in the Holy Land.... and even more unfortunate for Constantinople, made the Christians think they need seige practice too..... hense the sacking of the city in 1204...

      Damn those Atheists...caused it all...

      January 25, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • hmmm..funny

      @ WASP

      would have been amazing had the desert god not shown up... the Arabs where making great strides in all areas of knowlege... then as Islam gained more and more control we heard less and less from the Arab scholars....sad really...

      ohhh what might have been...

      January 25, 2013 at 9:11 am |
  7. lol??

    "Phl 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God."

    January 25, 2013 at 6:16 am |
    • Primewonk

      Psalm 137:9 Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!

      January 25, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • just wondering

      primewonk, why don't you post the entire psalm? It would show what a fraud you are attempting to pull. Oh, that's right it has been shown to you many times before. Why do you still try to use that verse by itself?

      January 25, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      lol?? didn't bother to post the whole scripture, so why should Primewonk?
      Cherry picking verses is a favourite passtime of both the religious and the irreligious.
      The Bible is such a gargantuan collection on contradictions that it can be used to bolster just about position on any topic. The best thing about citing God as your authority is that He's never around to confirm or deny it.

      January 25, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • james

      prime; did you not read "big rats produce little rats:

      January 25, 2013 at 9:26 am |
  8. Dave G

    Just read the online report concerning children and God. Based on what I read I would greatly like to respond not only to you Deborah, but to all non-believers whom have rejected Christianity and Jesus Christ.
    First let me say I can fully understand where you are coming from because I have been there, but I question do you have the entire picture?
    To respond to specific questions is tough since there are so many of them and multiple answers to each one depending on where you are coming from at that moment. For instance one of the most frequent questions you mentioned is " How can a loving God allow pain, suffering and death to happen? We are taught, as Christians that God is not capable of doind bad things to good people but He does let other factors/spirits do those bad things which he could stop if He wanted. Why?
    We as humans are a hard headed and perverse generation which occasionally makes errors in judgement. When that happens we are expected to learn from those mistakes and correct our actions. But sometimes that correction doesn't take place and we repeat our bad actions especially when there is no penalty accompanying the bad action. Many times it is a knowingly bad repeat of action and then the lesson needs to be taught again with more emphasis. But that's just one take on this subject.
    What about the Biblical character of JOB whom didn't do anything wrong, but lost his whole family, servants, wealth, home and societal status in a very short period of time? Well, here we learn that there are basically two lifestyle factors in the universe, good and evil. These two factors are always battling to win the hearts and minds of humanity so evil (satin) does the bad things and tries to blame them on good (God) and tries to convince God that no humans will stay on the side of good if they aren't protected by God's power. Job proved Satin wrong, but God had to allow Satin to make Job suffer by removing his protection in order to prove Job's loyalty. I believe this lesson has to be repeated frequently to Satin and all his followers because they just don't get it.
    Another frequently asked question is "Why do bad people succeed in life while good people suffer. Well this one I can answer from personal experience. It all has to do with your prospective on what success is. It took me many years to discover that the truly important things in life are not what society thinks they are. Society sees money, material possessions, rank in business, etc as signs of success, but the truly important things are family, love, honor, respect, honesty, loyalty, etc are the truly important things in life.
    Finally the biggest questions you mentioned had to do with proof. This is where the word "faith" comes into play. "Faith" is defined as things you can believe in even though you cannot see them. Usually one believes in them because he/she wants them to exist for the betterment of life.
    But the final point is probably the beginning point in belief. We need to look at logic in our belief. In the teachings of Christianity what happens to a person if they DO believe and it turns out that the story of Christ is false? Have we lost anything by believing? Maybe a little self respect in this life, but nothing important. Now what do we loose if we don't believe and reject Jesus according to Christian teachings if the story is true? We loose our eternal life in heaven and are condemned to hell, described as a very terrible place. I think if I were a betting man, oh I am a betting man, so I will go with the given of believing so I can't loose the final prize.
    The long and the short of it is that the answers to all life's questions can be found in the Bible and the only way to win the true tests of life is to believe.
    May God bless you and keep you Deborah.

    January 25, 2013 at 6:12 am |
    • JWT

      ohhh you mean people shoudl fake their belief – your god must be an idiot. Fortunately I have no gods and no hell and no heaven

      January 25, 2013 at 6:17 am |
    • lol??

      "......Another frequently asked question is "Why do bad people succeed in life while good people suffer......" Well, the successful like to impress people they don't care about. Perversity at its best.

      January 25, 2013 at 6:34 am |
    • lol??

      JWT, the default is having a god and when you run out of gods you nominate yourself.

      January 25, 2013 at 6:37 am |
    • End Religion

      The only "answer" in the bible is to the question: what causes misery?

      January 25, 2013 at 6:50 am |
    • JWT

      Better work on a new theory lol because I did not have any gods when I was born.

      January 25, 2013 at 7:03 am |
    • WASP

      @dave: " We need to look at logic in our belief."
      that is the main problem right there; there isn't any logic in religion.
      1) is it logical to make females use a different entrance than the males?
      2) is it logical to tell children they should be seen and not heard?
      3) is it logical to sit and listen to someone tell you that just because you are listenning to them that you are saved, but everyone else is doomed?
      4) are cults logical?
      5) is biblical history logical? one male one female creating every other human on earth?

      nothing in religion is LOGICAL unless you stop thinking LOGICALLY.

      January 25, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • hmmm..funny

      "In the teachings of Christianity what happens to a person if they DO believe and it turns out that the story of Christ is false? Have we lost anything by believing?"

      Religion is a game changer.... as a believer, the enemies of the Church are your enemies, all the money you have given to them could have been put to better use for yourself.. or given directly to those in need if you wish. The Church tends to get you to vote a certain way...dress a certain way, eat or drink certain foods, avoid people based on race, who they go home with at the end of the day.... on and on....

      January 25, 2013 at 7:36 am |
    • myweightinwords

      First let me say I can fully understand where you are coming from because I have been there, but I question do you have the entire picture?

      Actually, I'm betting that isn't true. Unless you've lived the lives of others you can't possibly have been there, and your words indicate that the reverse is probably more true, that those of us who are not Christian have once been where you are.

      You seem to be saying that anyone who doesn't believe as you do, simply hasn't a) heard the gospel, b) considered the consequences, c) understood the bible. That simply isn't true.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      hmmm..funny

      Very, very few churches tell people not to associate with other races.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "but I question do you have the entire picture?"

      Dave,

      How much BS does one have to listen to in order to determine the information being offered is BS? 10 years worth? 20? 35?

      January 25, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Carl

      ""Faith" is defined as things you can believe in even though you cannot see them. Usually one believes in them because he/she wants them to exist for the betterment of life."

      Wanting something to exist doesn't actually make something exist, right? If it did then we'd be living in the United Federation of Planets full of Jedi Knights, and the Cubs would be World Series winners. :-)

      What can you actually believe in without seeing it? By "seeing" I assume you mean detecting in some measurable way, and not in the way some use the childish analogy of air being invisible, therefore a matter of faith? What undetectable things that aren't supported by any objective evidence can you believe in?

      January 25, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • What IF

      Dave G:
      " Now what do we loose [sic] if we don't believe and reject Jesus according to Christian teachings if the story is true? We loose[sic] our eternal life in heaven and are condemned to hell, described as a very terrible place. I think if I were a betting man, oh I am a betting man, so I will go with the given of believing so I can't loose[sic] the final prize."

      "This is another tired repeti.tion of Pascal's Wager - thoroughly refuted since the 17th century, even by the Church.

      – What if the real "God" is Allah, or Vishnu, or Zeus, or Quetzalcoatl, or any of the other of thousands which have been dreamed up over the centuries? Some of them are very jealous and vengeful and will relegate you to nasty places for not worshiping them. You'd better cover your butt by believing in ALL of them and fulfill their wishes and demands.

      – What if the real "God" prefers those who use logic and reason and punishes you as a silly sycophant?

      – What if the real "God" detests those who believe something just to cover their butts in eternity?

      -------------------

      (hint: you mean "lose", not "loose")

      January 25, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • hmmm..funny

      @ Rational Libertarian

      Today most arnt picky about race...But for a few (mormons for example) it a relatively new policy to have people with dark skin on an equal footing as whites....several sects of Islam practice an almost caste like system, based on skin color....the Hindus have an outright caste system...

      How people can buy this crap is just beyond.......

      January 25, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Carl

      And many of us understand where you're coming from, Dave G, because we use to believe strongly in God ... until we actually took the time and checked into the claims being made by the religion. Most Christians seem to be like the folks who click "I Accept" on their computer screens without knowing what they're getting into.

      January 25, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  9. Lion

    Bible belt American' are the most gullible. They would swallow any Biblical nonsense if the preacher says so.

    January 25, 2013 at 4:35 am |
    • Carl

      They'd swallow any quack science that supported creationism, or any armchair scholar's interpretation of ancient Hebrew, if it supported the beliefs they were taught as well. Everything that supports their view, anything that they desire to be true, they take on face value. Well, you can't cheat an honest man, as they say, and some people are just so greedy for Christianity to be true, with it's promised rewards and power, that they will let themselves believe the most amazing claims without letting their common sense rein them in.

      January 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  10. dale

    "we LET them go" ?

    January 25, 2013 at 2:50 am |
  11. AM Coffee

    Anyone with a functioning mind can see why religion and god were conjured up. It's a control scheme, not that different from what governments do really, same agenda, different story. And yet here we have all these people, apparently moving and breathing humans, who actually buy off on the god and bible thing. They defend it and speak of it as though its real. If they were celebrating pet rocks, martians, or some invisible fish, they'd be diagnosed as psychotic, mentally ill, delusional. Yet for some reason when they go on about this magical little man in the sky they're called religious and we tolerate them, we let them go on about their business, to wander around amongst us. They drive on public streets, they get jobs in schools were we send our kids, they vote, even buy guns, worse yet, they reproduce like rabbits! This God thing is a problem we are not taking seriously enough. We need to put an end to it. At the very least these whacko bible thumpers ought not be allowed out without some kind of supervision, if nothing else anklet transmitters so we can keep track of them. We need to do something, cull the herd.

    January 25, 2013 at 2:12 am |
    • dale

      hey there adolf junior, dont hold your breath.

      January 25, 2013 at 2:16 am |
    • dale

      @amcoffee I am going to have what you just wrote published on behalf of the right to bear arms.

      January 25, 2013 at 2:28 am |
    • Frank

      How Christian. Of course, when you publish his words without his permission, he can sue you and win.

      Christians are always so dishonest

      January 25, 2013 at 2:37 am |
    • dale

      i was just kidding im sitting here laughing cause he's gone mad. but on the other hand, i garuntee i can take anything off a blog and publish it without anyones permission.

      January 25, 2013 at 2:41 am |
    • Frank

      You can "garuntee" all you like, but no, you can't. Copyright laws are clear on that. Yes, people do it, but you are always subject to lawsuit, for like some forms of file sharing, it is prohibited by law.

      Oh, and your spelling, grammar, structure, and idea development are atrocious. You should learn to write beyond a third grade level if you don't want to be considered a fool. Which your content already proves you to be.

      January 25, 2013 at 2:51 am |
    • End Religion

      We have the right to bare arms!
      http://www.naircare.com

      January 25, 2013 at 5:32 am |
    • hmmm..funny

      yup. we have the right to bear arms.....but you have to follow the rules and rip em free from an unhindered bear...CAUTION: the bear might have a thing or two to say about it.

      January 25, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • WASP

      @FUNNY: ROFLMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XD

      January 25, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • Hmmmm

      Everyone has it wrong, the 2nd amendment says we have the "Right to bare arms and maintain well regulated mullets..." which is why we see so many on almost every episode of Alabama Cops when raiding a trailer park...

      January 25, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  12. Bill

    “one angry God”? I understand that commentary on these blogs often are simple and concise for brevity’s sake. But, I will offer this: perhaps like you, I thought that the Old Testament was all about establishing creation and then raining down lots of judgment on man, along with some predictions and prophecies of the Messiah (Jesus). I was a Christian and expected to read mostly all about punishing (and death). Yes, there is some of that. Just like if you broke into a school and vandalized a couple classrooms, were caught, then punished, and the account was given in the local news. Your friends and neighbors would praise the police for their work to catch the criminal (you) and then revel in your punishment. There would be glee by others in your parents’ “tanning your hide” and all of the “public service” required of you. An example of sin identified and then punishment executed. The Old Testament is more than about punishment. While it is an account of Creation, of man’s good and bad behaviors and consequences, it is way more astounding in its revelation of God’s love. It is the account of establishing a chosen people (the Israelites) who would be the lineage to bringing Jesus, His sacrifice on the cross, and salvation to man. Despite the notion that God somehow was non-stop executing immediate revenge, that is simply not the case. For example, it was at least a thousand years between Adam and Noah and the flood that destroyed all of mankind – save for eight. Sin was so rampant that God repented that He had created man. Vowing to “never again punish (destroy) man in that way”, He stayed way more involved in the affairs of man, as given in the account of the Bible. For the Jews, He had established a “theocracy” over them, but they became dissatisfied and demanded to have a “king” – like every other nation. God did not like that, but He allowed that. For hundreds of years, there was one righteous and then an evil king following in succession, until God finally said, “enough is enough”, and had the Jews taken into captivity, to save them, by the Babylonians. Kings and Chronicles are the account of this good/bad/good/bad king succession and the reader is left wondering: why did God put up with that for so long. And, I could only conclude that He greatly loved His people and desired that they obey and serve Him and that He did not want to “give up” on them – despite their rebellion and disobedience. When you read it carefully, the Old Testament reveals the depth of God’s patience and love. Again, that is not what I was expecting, but it is profound. We might notionally think of the New Testament because of Jesus and God’s love (John 3:16), but His love is all throughout the Old Testament. If God is angry, it is because that man’s sins separate us from Him. But, in His love, He sacrificed His Son, Jesus, to provide forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with Him. It is about choice. He has done everything as a Holy God that He could do to create fellowship with Him. It is up to us to either accept or reject that. Our choice.

    January 25, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • ZIngo

      Look at that! A square block of bullshit!

      January 25, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • Y

      Bill,
      " He has done everything as a Holy God that He could do to create fellowship with Him."

      No, "He" hasn't.

      "His" powers must be pretty limited if this is the best "He" could do.

      January 25, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Nice rationalization Bill,

      Just for the record you are saying a god that orders child sacrifice, murder, genocide and does not outlaw slavery but in fact regulates it, is a moral, loving god worthy of worship....got it.

      January 25, 2013 at 12:51 am |
    • dale

      i thought i would just inquire about the slavery thing..can what are you talking about exactly?

      January 25, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • dale

      he doesnt order child sacrifice he was angry with israel for following baal and passing their children through the fire unto baal

      like the ceremony that George Bush attends at bohemian grove, the body floating on fire to the owl statue

      January 25, 2013 at 1:07 am |
    • dale

      he doesnt order child sacrifice he was angry with israel for following baal and passing their children through the fire unto baal
      there is no child sacrifice ordained by God

      January 25, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • dale

      in the new testament when slaver was mentioned, as you know Jews were under roman authority and were slaves. the instructions to slaves there was to be a good slave, not take them. the bible doesnt incourage slavery. it basically says dont kill your master. dont revolt. respect the governing authority, wether slave or free..

      January 25, 2013 at 1:22 am |
    • Y

      dale,

      Re: child sacrifice
      Did you forget about Abraham and Isaac?
      – Sure, Abe didn't go through with it... but he was "ordered" to do it.
      Not that I believe *anything* of the sort ever actually happened, mind you, other than a story of a psychotic old Hebrew guy.

      Re: slavery
      Look at your 10 Commandments - allegedly right from the "finger" of this "God"
      – The first 4 are all about this "God's" narcissistic craving for worship... not even one about "thou shalt not OWN human beings"?

      January 25, 2013 at 1:23 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Dale,

      Abraham was ordered to kill his son. What kind of "moral" being would even ask of that of a parent. I have 2 kids and I don't care who asked me, the ansswer is no.

      Also Jephthah had to god through with offering his daughter as a sacrifice, god demanded it.

      As for slavery, you do know there are a whole set of regulations on slavery right? Did god ever say "hey owning other people is really wrong". No he set up rules for regulating slavery. We as a society have better morals than your god.

      January 25, 2013 at 1:44 am |
    • dale

      y worship God is that a bad idea?

      January 25, 2013 at 1:47 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I wouldn't worship an immoral being even if I thought he was real.

      Might does not make right.

      January 25, 2013 at 1:58 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Bill", but all that is unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "EPIC FAIL".

      January 25, 2013 at 2:04 am |
    • dale

      your Jephtah story about God is decaptive. Jephtah made an ill advised bargain with God as he was making promises and not trusting in Gods unrevealed will. He basically made a bet with god about "whatever" came out the door not "whoever" he was thinking a burnt offering which is a pigeon. if you read ex 20:5 god specifically states that if you hates him it will effect your generations., god put israel into slavery repeatedly as punishment.

      January 25, 2013 at 2:24 am |
    • dale

      deceptive interpretation.

      January 25, 2013 at 2:25 am |
    • Y

      dale,

      There is no verified evidence that any god ever did or said a damn thing - EVER.

      January 25, 2013 at 3:20 am |
    • lol??

      Y, your verifiable science god can't save you or the world from extinction.

      January 25, 2013 at 6:06 am |
    • hmmm..funny

      @ lol??

      You re right – because religious Zealots are TRYING to end the world. Imagine a world where society resembles the intellectual community. Where disputes consist of a challenge of an idea or theory and is reponded to with the necessary data to reproduce the original theory..or the challenge is met with the simple phrase: "wow, Your right"

      January 25, 2013 at 6:59 am |
    • hmmm..funny

      ..or they might even say: " Wow!, YOU RE right" even

      January 25, 2013 at 7:01 am |
    • WASP

      @funny: that is the sad thing. these folks don't even realize they are following a "self fulfilling prophecy".
      they themselves are running toward that cliff like lemmings and regardless of how much we try to deter them they just keep running.
      the best we non-religious can hope to do is stave off their insanity to the point they don't truly get any real power.
      could you imagine someone like david koresh making it in to the president's seat? he would push that big red button just to usher in the apocolypse.

      January 25, 2013 at 7:36 am |
    • hmmm..funny

      @ WASP

      You nailed it....I think that makes a few people nervious around the world......Usually, the more people involved in something, the more opportunity to have things fail....in the case of our launch codes, it is a good thing many people are involved. We are playing the odds though..given time, we could end up with all the wrong people in all the key positions, and good bye civilization.

      January 25, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • Carl

      "He had established a “theocracy” over them, but they became dissatisfied and demanded to have a “king”"

      Do you think that the Founding Fathers of this country wanted America to become a theocracy, or a monarchy?

      January 25, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "He basically made a bet with god about "whatever" came out the door not "whoever" he was thinking a burnt offering which is a pigeon."

      Dale,

      My neighbor Joe and I have a bet, the next living thing that enters his garage he has to kill because we think it is going to be a bird or a rabbit. His daughter unexpectedly shows up. I, as a moral being, am not going to hold him to the bet. In fact, even if Joe wanted to go through with it I am going to tell him "no, your daughter does not deserve to die". Oh and your god, being omnicient and all, KNEW the daughter would come through the door next and he accepted the terms. Nice guy.

      The details of the story do not change the immorality of your god on iota.

      January 25, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Carl

      dale
      Allowing our emotions to bring us to violent anger is generally considered to be a weakness amongst human fathers, but I suppose you hold God to a lower standard than this, right?

      January 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  13. lol??

    "Jhn 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me." The commie mommie should get out of the way of her hubby. He's the one that needs help, not directions.

    January 25, 2013 at 12:00 am |
  14. GodFreeNow

    @ Marie, are you still here? I have information for you but don't want to post it unless I know you'll get it.

    January 24, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  15. where is fred flinstone?

    huh?

    January 24, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Flint Fredstone

      You might try the reply button next time, austin. You might also try making sense . . .

      January 24, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • where is fred flinstone?

      hey thats not wise to use your real name.

      January 24, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
  16. Rational Libertarian

    Why does it hurt when I p.ee?

    January 24, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      It's not supposed to?

      January 24, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • Chard Tofu

      It has something to do with Super InvisoBuddy. I'm sure Marie can fill you in on it.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • End Religion

      Stop peeing on the electric fence.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
  17. Robert Brown

    Why do you talk so much when you know so little?

    Now get ready to face me!

    Can you answer the questions I ask?

    How did I lay the foundation for the earth?

    Were you there?

    January 24, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • The Facts

      Answer: there is no God. Earth is the product of gasses and matter that pulled together over time due to gravity. No gods, just natural forces at work.

      You've been trolling as Marie, haven't you.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • 2 Peter 3 :3-6

      oh ya Peter predicted the uniformitarianists before lyell and hutton did in the 18th century too

      knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, saying" where is the promise of His coming? for since the the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." For this they willingly foget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.

      i really like this one

      January 24, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

      January 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      What? Is that an African swallow or a European swallow?

      January 24, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • Really now

      They were already being scoffed at. There is no skill in predicting that people will continue to laugh at your stupid ideas.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Whaa? I don't know that. Ooooohhhhh Aaaaawwwwwwwwhhhhhhhhhh

      January 24, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      The Facts,

      No, I haven’t been trolling as Marie. I did see some of her posts earlier. This is a quote from Job 38 in the contemporary English version, God speaking to Job. It is really neat, if you haven’t, you may want to give it a read sometime.

      Do you know a lot about gravity?

      January 24, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You just have to know these things when you're king.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • Atheists: Teaching Christians about Their Own Religion

      Oh Brownie, gravity is a natural force that shows absolutely no supernatural element of any hint of any deity. You are just proving your ignorance.

      There really isn't anything funnier that a Christian who tries to use science to say science is wrong. You are totally clueless as to the science, and your conclusion is totally unsupported by anything involved in the subject.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Atheists: Teaching Christians about Their Own Religion,

      All of that just for asking if the poster knew a lot about gravity?

      January 24, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • Observer

      Robert Brown,

      "Atheists: Teaching Christians about Their Own Religion"

      Who else will point out the hypocrisy and lack of knowledge of the Bible by so many Christians?

      January 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • Atheists: Teaching Christians about Their Own Religion

      Robert, every time a Christian mentions gravity, the next thing is always the claim that since they are not totally understood down to every last nit, then they prove God exists. Always.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Observer,
      Unfortunately, there are hypocrites. Many believers know very little about the bible. Point all you like, maybe some will get in the word and learn more.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      Well, if you're going to ask about gravity, make sure to give equal time questioning flippancy. At the end of it all, we might know a little more of what it's like to be Charlie Sheen.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Atheists: Teaching Christians about Their Own Religion,
      The Facts mentioned gravity, but I see what you mean. I don’t need the unknown to believe in God. What little we think we know is enough for me.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • redzoa

      Gravity (it's just a theory!) is a myth created by godless scientists. Common sense tells us that angels are pushing everything down. Besides the specified complex information required shows that so-called gravity is actually the product of an intelligent agency. A better description would be intelligent falling.

      January 24, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
  18. NGB4M

    The bible says...except that it doesn't talk. One must read it. Too bad most people who ever lived never had access to it. Or they couldn't read it, either because they simply couldn't read or they didn't have a copy in their language. Now the average church goer doesn't even bother. And so belief persists through ignorance. One would think god could have done a better job of informing people of his existence and message.

    January 24, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • Flint Fredstone

      Did you know that for a long time it was a crime to have a copy of the Bible in your own language? No joke.

      January 24, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      The Reformation was key to changing those laws. Say what you like about Martin Luther, but he undeniably changed Christianity.

      January 24, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • 2 Peter 3 :3-6

      MLK changed christianity? you are so dumb it isnt even funny.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Trolls poo on duck ponds to entice the Dark Lord Ctuthlu to a roadside picnic.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • FS

      You do realize that MLK and Martin Luther are NOT the same person right?

      January 24, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • Atheists: Teaching Christians about Their Own Religion

      That may be the funniest clueless moment yet! A Christian who has no clue who Martin Luther was.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • 2 Peter 3 :3-6

      no thats not what im saying thats like saying hitler changed christianity, george bush changed christianity, the crusades changed christianity. there is noone who changes Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is what authenticates the life there is. false religion is everything else. yall need to stop defining things with your rediculous religious garbage.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      He's clearly trolling people. Don't feed him.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • Atheists: Teaching Christians about Their Own Religion

      Are you Catholic?

      January 24, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • 2 Peter 3 :3-6

      the catholic church is completely flawed. Jesus is our intercessor. praying to marry is idolatry. and repeated prayers are specifically spoken against in scripture. the list goes on.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • Atheists: Teaching Christians about Their Own Religion

      You can thank Martin Luther for that perspective. You would not have it if it weren't for him.

      For he changed Christianity.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • 2 Peter 3 :3-6

      ok. i understand why people give him credit but he doesnt deserve any, and for any catholics, i dont think my opinion about the catholic church is a judgment on your authenticity, that is all an individual thing that i have absolutely no say. i just dont like the "overly religious" stuff, there is nothing wrong with structure and discipline and devotion.

      January 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • mama k

      Oh my – are things really this bad? Maybe there is some poeism going on here.

      January 24, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Rollo Tomasi

      No mama, you have missed quite a Nincompoops Parade here. The Jesustanis have really been receiving special transmissions in their aluminum foil hats.

      January 24, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • mama k

      Wow, OK – well I'm used to fundamentalists not giving credit to people that fought for separation of church and state so that they may exist and practice their silly beliefs today, but I've not heard one until now who confused MLK with Martin Luther. My goodness.

      January 24, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
  19. billybob

    im stuck at a gas station in chicago can anyone give me a ride home? i dont have anymoney but do have a gold chain

    January 24, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • night rider

      Gas,grass or .ss, nobody rides for free

      January 24, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
  20. austin

    op.guess what?

    January 24, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • Flint Fredstone

      Were you trying to make sense, or was your keyboard run across by a cat that will soon be slaughtered by demons to prove god exists in a weird dream that involves Paris Hilton dancing with a wolverine?

      January 24, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.